Monday, November 10, 2008

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 5th February 2008 (1st published 2007)
Pages: 424
Book Source: own purchase
My Rating: 4.5 stars 

Synopsis: Nefertiti is one of the world's great legendary beauties. Seen through her sister's eyes, she is vividly brought to life in this heartbreaking story of celebrity, ambition, love and loss.

At the tender age of fifteen, Nefertiti marries Akhenaten, the Prince of Egypt, her dreams coming true as she rises to fame and fortune. Bathed and decorated by a team of body servants, her natural beauty is enhanced until she becomes mesmerizing. She is soon the darling of the people and her husband's closest confidant.

But when her husband breaks with a thousand years of tradition, defying the priests and the military, it will take all Nefertiti's wiles to keep the nation from being torn apart. She's prepared to sacrifice her sister to strengthen her power and this act will lock the two women in a feud that only death can break...

I was engrossed in this book from the beginning, enthralled by the complex characters, the architecture, the Gods, the political intrigue, the clothing, make-up and jewellery. Michelle Moran brings Ancient Egypt to life. 

This is the story of Nefertiti, narrated by her younger half sister, Mutnodjmet (Mutny) and their family's rise to power. After the death of the favored son of the Elder Pharaoh, Amunhotep is crowned. Amunhotep despised the rule of his father and all that he stood for. 

Nefertiti’s marriage to the Pharaoh as chief wife, provides her with the opportunity to gain the everlasting recognition & power she craves. With the encouragement of his wife, Amunhotep forsakes Egypt’s ancient gods, overthrows the priests of Amun, and introduces an untouchable god for all to worship, Aten, a representation of the sun. 

Nefertiti’s scheming selfishness, irrational demands, and willingness to sacrifice her sister’s happiness for her own ambitions make her a compelling figure but not a very likable one. 

Mutny touched me, I felt emotionally connected to her character. I cried over her losses, railed at those inflicting hurt upon her and cheered her on when she took her happiness into her own hands, defying her sister, all while retaining her own integrity, compassion and deep love for Nefertiti. 

Through Mutny's skills as a herbalist and healer I particularly enjoyed the indepth look at the herbs of the time and their medicinal uses. I also found Ipu, Mutny's loyal body servant, to be a particularly endearing character. Such a contrast, but entirely relatable, many of us know sisters with similar traits to Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet. 

A compelling, intricately woven story with a well researched historical foundation. Ancient Egypt is calling, I'm about to immerse myself in 'The Heretic Queen'.


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